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Industry and Trade Minister Faiyaz Koya says Fiji has not left the negotiating table in terms of the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations or PACER Plus.
While addressing 146 senior business executives at the 2018 Fiji Australia Business Council last Friday, he said Fiji was close to signing the trade agreement.
“Quite a few countries have signed, some are them Pacific Island countries, we do have some tweaking that we think is necessary for us with respect to our policy space, with respect to our development, et cetera, but we haven’t left the table, we are continuously in discussions,” he said.
“In terms of a time frame, I am not going to be able to tell you right now, but it is something that is very important to us.
“Trade agreements are extremely important to us but at the same time, our vision of the trade agreement is that it’s a development-based trade agreement, generally speaking, and also with respect to our aspirations to development and our policy space — all of those things need to be taken care of.
“I think we are down to one issue so keep your fingers crossed.”
Australian Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Mark Coulton, who was also present at the forum, said he was pleased with the way negotiations on PACER Plus were progressing.
“Fiji’s participation in the negotiations was welcomed by all parties, and contributed significantly to the final outcomes,” he said. “Since it was signed last year, parties have made good progress to allow its entry into force.
“It is my view that Fiji is uniquely placed to benefit from PACER Plus.
“I recognise that trade agreements can take time to consider.
“But I would like to use this opportunity to convey Australia’s strong wish that Fiji joins the PACER Plus team,” he said.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
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